Explaining an Employee’s Dismissal to the Rest of the Team

July 17, 2018

In his latest blog, Nuhman discusses how to explain an employee’s dismissal to the rest of the team.

By Nuhman Sharif

You might have been in this unfortunate situation before. You have to dismiss an employee and perhaps you’ve wondered: ‘what should I tell the rest of the team? Do I tell them anything at all?’

The default answer would be to say as little as possible and not talk about that employee any more once they’ve left the business. But is this the right thing to do? Don’t the rest of the team have a right to know what’s happened? What about their thoughts and feelings? It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that the other team members will have questions about it.

Some organisations take a radical approach of encouraging their employees to share the reasons for their dismissal with the rest of the team, maybe through a company-wide email. This also gives them an opportunity to say their goodbyes.

This however can seem a little harsh, as well as this approach relying on the person remaining professional and not launching into any personal attacks or writing anything offensive. I think something in the middle is what’s needed: in other words, the business should communicate why the employee has left (as much as possible depending on the situation and if there are ongoing legal proceedings etc) but not leave that in the hands of the employee. so, when communicating to the rest of the team about an employee’s dismissal, here are some top tips to bear in mind:

Be brief and to the point

Otherwise you’ll end up going in circles and no doubt get confused! You might also be emotional at the time so it’s best to keep things short and sweet!

Address the ‘how does this affect me?’ question

This is a question that other team members will inevitably ask so it’s better to be proactive and address it straight away.

Don’t delay

News of this nature travels like wild fire so it’s best to talk to the rest of the team on the day the employee leaves or the day after at the very latest.  Responding quickly also reduces the likelihood of Chinese whispers and rumours which are often more outrageous in comparison to the real situation.

Communicate how their departure is going to affect the rest of the team

So share with the rest of the team what’s going to happen in the interim period, how work is going to be reallocated and what plans are in place to hire a replacement.

Make it clear to the team that your door is always open if they have any queries

It’s important to remember that team members may react differently to the news that an employee has been dismissed: for some employees, it may not be such a big issue, but others may be really emotional. It’s for this latter group of employees that you need to ensure you are providing sufficient ongoing support.

If you’d like any more advice or support with this, just get in touch!

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

Why not join our mailing list...




  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.